At the end of May, Lars Ulrich spoke to Swedish talk show host Fredrik Skavlan about the possibility of METALLICA making a new studio album while in quarantine. The drummer said (see video below): "We're just starting, in the last four weeks maybe, we connected again. We've been obviously connecting [even before that], but we [have now] connected creatively, and now we're sort of in discovery mode, I think is a good way to say it. We are sending ideas to each other via e-mail and via Zoom and [trying to] make music in these unusual situations.
"We have a weekly Zoom connect," Lars revealed. "We've been doing that basically since [the coronavirus pandemic] started 10 [or] 11 weeks [ago] — since it started in America. So we get together once a week on Zoom for a couple of hours and catch up. The good thing about that catching up is we really just talk about how we're doing and we don't sit and talk about METALLICA for hours and hours. But now that we've started exchanging some ideas, it's great. It's nice to be in touch, it's nice to be part again of that group, and I look forward to the creative opportunities that lie ahead of us."
Asked what the differences would be between making a "normal" METALLICA album and a quarantine album, Ulrich said: "So far, at least the sonic side of it and the practical elements are in surprisingly good shape, actually. So now we've just gotta figure out how much we can create without being in the same space. The difference, obviously, between bands like ourselves and people that are still bands, like the U2s of the world or the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS or COLDPLAY or IRON MAIDEN or whatever is that you really are bands, and you rely on the group format to really move everything forward. So unlike if you're a solo artist and it's just you and your guitar or whatever. So it's a different thing."
In early May, the four members of METALLICA overcame social distancing to record a new version of their song "Blackened", with each member separated in his own home. The split-screen video was posted to the band's social media channels.
METALLICA has been largely out of the public eye since last fall when the band canceled an Australian tour and announced that frontman James Hetfield was returning to rehab for the first time since 2002 to battle his addictions.
In March, METALLICA announced that its South American tour, which was originally planned for April, was postponed until December. In addition, the band's appearances at four Danny Wimmer Presents-produced festivals in May and September were canceled: Epicenter in Charlotte, Welcome To Rockville in Daytona, Sonic Temple in Columbus and Louder Than Life in Louisville.